FAQ - Inclusivity Policy


Frequently Asked Questions

Section 1: Inclusivity Policy

These questions and answers relate to the Inclusivity Statement published in July 2019 and included as part of the Terms and Rules.

 

1. So, microaggressions. Seems like there might be a lot, and I might mess up and use one. Will I be banned?

We understand that accidents happen, and many of us are still learning. In the world of social justice, it’s not uncommon to hear that “Impact matters, not intent.” and while that’s true in how we help someone who has been marginalized, it’s not how we view folks who have made mistakes. Intent DOES matter. So long as your slip up was just that - a mistake, or something that you never knew before - we’d like to work with you to provide some resources, opportunities to learn, and a private place to discuss it safely, away from marginalized folks who might be hurt. 

We’ll probably immediately edit the harmful language out, and ask you to go back and fix your post so that it’s in your words, minus the problematic terms. 

If someone has identified with being hurt, it would be best to apologize. 

Please do NOT ask why, or otherwise focus on your confusion or learning opportunity in a public place. Please let a mod or admin know that you’d like to learn more, and we’ll direct you to a spot where it’s ok to have those conversations. 

Work on doing better in the future. 

Now. . . if you meant to hurt someone, that’s another story, and banning is definitely on the table. We’re predisposed to assume the best, though.

 

2. What DO you do to people who violate the policy?

It depends! If it’s a minor slip up, we’ll edit out the hurtful content quickly, and send a warning message to the member who posted it. Depending on what was posted, if it’s possibly not clear why that content would be a problem, we will likely add extra text to the message or link to a resource with more info. We’d like to hear back from you. Just reply to the conversation we sent, and let us know what questions you have and if you’re ok to move forward. 

Again, intent matters to us - so long as it was not intentional, and you’re ready to learn and avoid that mistake in the future, we’ll be fine. 

If it was intentional and/or you refuse to do things differently, then this might not be a good community fit. 

Note: photos or videos can be problematic too. If you happened to take a photo outside and it has a random political sign in the background, we’ll just ask you to edit that out and repost. If your child is waving the sign happily and your comment is “isn’t it cute! She’s into politics early!” that photo just needs to be removed. 

 

3. What is a microaggression?

Microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group.

 

4. Are all microaggressions about race? 

No! They can be about race,ethnicity, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class, nationality, disability, and more. 

https://www.vox.com/2015/2/16/8031073/what-are-microaggressions

 

5. But, everyone says those! I don’t mean anything bad by it. Why is it a problem?

It’s a problem because it hurts someone. If you don’t mean anything bad by it, then let’s just change our word choices to find things that say more specifically what you mean without being harmful or negative. 

Instead of following what others around you are doing, why not be a leader, and help bring about change? 

 

6. What’s ableism?

Sort of like microaggressions, but all about someone’s ability to do things. It can include assuming everyone is able/typical and not making appropriate accommodations, or assuming that being atypical is a bad thing. A very common ableist word is “cr*zy”, which gets used to mean all sorts of different things, from “very” to “irrational” to “ridiculous” and on and on. 

Using ableist slurs not only makes disabled people feel unsafe, it also contributes to the overall societal stigma against mental illness, which directly affects the help that people with mental illness ask for and receive.

 

7. So, what words can’t I say? And what am I supposed to say instead?!

There’s no comprehensive list of Bad Words, and different people may feel differently about any word! That said, any ethnic slurs are certainly out, as are ableist slurs like “cr*zy”, “l*me”, or “r*tarded”.

What to say instead? It can help to think about what you wanted that word to mean. If you were actually trying to be insulting, it’s possible you shouldn’t say anything at all, like the cross-stitch samplers suggest! :) Otherwise, there’s virtually always another way (or ten) to say what you mean.

For ableist language, there are several resources linked here: https://thebabywearer.com/forum/threads/resources-ableism-ableist-language-and-inclusive-spaces.548228/ 

This is another excellent resource: https://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html

More words to avoid: https://lgbtqia.ucdavis.edu/educated/words

https://www.glaad.org/reference/offensive

 

8. I’m not here to talk about politics; everybody knows I’m not a racist; etc

Not talking about politics is a great basis for TBW. But there are other ways that accidental support for white supremacy and other bigotry creeps into our lives, and it’s important to keep that off TBW too. 

Vocabulary terms are important. 

Prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

Racism is prejudice plus power, 

Bigotry is the intolerance of other ideas, races, religons, sexual orientations, etc. 

We are all accidental racists. We have grown up surrounded by racism and other prejudices, and like it or not, we have absorbed some of the societal norms that are racist at their root. When we actively consider our beliefs, most of us do not hold prejudiced or bigoted beliefs, but our subconscious is still affected by them. This is where most microaggressions and accidental support for white supremacy come from. 

It’s important to acknowledge the affect those subconscious biases have on our everyday lives, and how we interact with others, if we want to reduce or eliminate our own internal, accidental racism. Read more about ‘everyday racism’ here: https://www.thoughtco.com/examples-of-subtle-racism-2834960

You’re not a bad person for having absorbed these biases from society! It’s how humans work. You can’t change the past, but you are responsible for your choices going forward.

 

9. But what about oppression against whites? I don’t believe in white privilege, because plenty of white people are poor, unhappy, and so on.

In anthropology, privilege is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. In sociology, privilege is the perceived rights or advantages that are assumed to be available only to a particular person or group of people. The term is commonly used in the context of social inequality, particularly in regard to age, disability, ethnic or racial category, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and social class.

Those are different kinds of privilege! You can have financial privilege, health privilege, racial privilege, etc. The most privileged people in the US would be those who had EVERY advantage - white, male, Christian, educated, from parents who were white/christian, educated, upper middle class or above, etc. 

Having one kind of privilege doesn’t erase another kind of hardship - if you are white, but have a chronic medical condition, you have white privilege but not health privilege. So, in comparison to someone who is not white, but has a similar health condition, the white person would have more societal advantages due to whiteness. It doesn’t mean that the white person did anything wrong, or deserves to be treated poorly - it means that the person of color deserves to be treated equally to the white person.

Acknowledging privilege gives you the opportunity to use yours to help protect people with less. It’s like carrying a HUGE umbrella in a rainstorm - it helps keep you dry. You can use all the extra space under that umbrella to help keep other people who don’t have umbrellas dry too. 

Ultimately, white folks aren’t oppressed because they’re white. Many white folks deal with oppression based on other factors - health/disability, being of limited financial means, LGBT, women, etc. But in each of those cases, their whiteness offers them some protection that people of color who are otherwise similar do not get. 

Still not sure? Check out these references for more: 

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/explaining-white-privilege-to-a-broke-white-person_b_5269255

https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

https://www.amazon.com/You-Want-Talk-About-Race/dp/1580056776

 

10. I’m Catholic. (or Evangelical Christian. Or Jewish. Or Baptist.) Can I still go here? Can I talk about my faith here? 

Yes! You can talk about your faith for you/your family, what it means to you, how you live your faith, and you may offer support for other TBW folks who share your religion and are struggling with something. We have many active members of many faiths.

It’s important to remember that some faiths have belief structures that are very different than many of our members, and you may not turn your beliefs against them here. For example, “You’re going to go to hell for {insert religous belief they’re not following}.” That would not be acceptable. Please keep religion-based judgements of others off TBW, and do not apply a religious test to other members. 

It’s also important to remember that some faiths have harmed people in the name of religion before. In particular, many religions have oppressed women and LGBTQ+ folks for centuries, in a variety of different ways.  

It is not acceptable to bring up your beliefs/religion in a conversation about something the Church disapproves, unless that conversation is strictly about that religion. (And even then, be careful; there are different sects within religions and different teachings from church to church. Religion is highly interpreted and highly individual - please be careful to speak about yourself and your beliefs vs what you think others should do.) 

I.e. a thread titled: Birth Control while Catholic would be fine; a thread called IUD vs the pill where you tell people all birth control other than natural family planning is a sin would be unacceptable UNLESS someone specifically asks about the church’s views within the thread. 

LGBTQ+ conversion therapy has been promoted by several religions; it’s now classified as a crime in some jurisdictions. Please keep in mind that this practice, as well as other problems within religion have harmed folks in the past, and are painful topics. 

 

11. Seems like religion is ok; I'm an atheist. Is that cool?

Yes! Please follow the same general guidelines as for a religion; e.g., don’t barge into a Birth Control while Catholic thread to expound on your own reasons for not following Catholic teachings.

 

12. What if I don't agree with everything about this policy or I belong to or work for an organization that supports things not allowed under this policy?

This is the policy of what can be posted on TheBabywearer. It is not a policy about what you have to believe or think privately, where you can work, what other organizations you can be involved in, or what you can say anywhere outside TBW, including elsewhere on the internet. What you do outside TBW is your choice. Our rules regulate what happens inside TBW. 

We recognize that not everyone shares the same beliefs. We hope that everyone at TBW shares the same desire to speak gently and prevent harm to each other with words, which is at the root of this policy. We know that some causes of harm aren’t always obvious, and we hope that this policy helps people become aware of some of the less obvious, but no less hurtful, ways we can harm each other.

 

13. Why aren't we allowed to talk about politics? 

It’s no different from having topics that are simply taboo and off limits at your in-law’s house when you visit, or specific things you just don’t talk about in front of that one friend, because you don’t see eye-to-eye and you don’t want to argue.

 

14. What if I just don’t think TBW is the place for me anymore?

We’d really like to hear from you about this! We want TBW to be a welcoming place, and if we’re failing at that, we need to know about it in order to stop. Naturally we hope we can find a solution that makes you happy staying here, but even if we can’t, it’s important to us to know what’s going wrong. Please contact webmaster@thebabywearer.com or message any moderator, admin, or volunteer board member through the PM functions to open a dialogue.